Panel Paper: The US-Mexico Border Communities Green Infrastructure Initiative for Storm Water Management

Thursday, July 19, 2018
Building 3, Room 211 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Maria-Elena Giner, University of Texas, Austin, Ana Cordova , Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Felipe Vazquez-Galvez, Universidad Autonomo de Ciudad Juarez and Joaquin Marruffo, Unaffiliated

This paper describes the application of a comprehensive strategic model for integrating Green Infrastructure (GI) in urban planning along the U.S/Mexico border, as a means to mitigate the environmental, economic, and social impacts of inadequate stormwater management. Population and the urban footprint has grown rapidly in the region’s cities, decreasing infiltration, and significantly increasing runoff. Consequently, the inadequately managed stormwater poses a threat to the sustainable growth of cities, because of its impacts of flooding on the natural and built environments. Stormwater carries sediments and other pollutants that flow into binational rivers contributing to the pollution of potable water sources.

As a strategy to mitigate these impacts, a program was created with the long term goal to support communities in building resiliency through the use of GI in public spaces such as parks, sidewalks, medians, and parking lots as a way to adapt to climate change, improve urban image, and strengthen native ecosystems. This methodology was founded on the experience in the City of Tucson, Arizona and was composed of training, strengthening municipal codes, developing pilot projects, native vegetation restoration, and the participation of residents, local government, and the private sector.

This approach, a shift in paradigm in the development of conventional stormwater infrastructure, is intended to influence public policy at the local level that is replicable and scalable on both sides of the US Mexico border, resulting in more livable cities, improved water quality, stronger binational environmental health, and the development of innovative public policies that contribute to sustainability.